Making a Handcart – June Volunteer Workday

The weather was decidedly grey for our Volunteer Workday in June. Luckily, most of the planned activities could be carried out undercover in the red barn – making a bicycle-wheeled handcart. It would be useful to have one for bringing in loose hay from the fields when we are hand hay making, plus the other myriad times when things need moving from A to B, but are too bulky for a wheel barrow!

We first came across simple plans for a handcart in a lovely little book called “Bender Heaven” by Laugh (from Wooden Books). The cart can be easily made from resources we have on the Trust land, plus nails, two old bicycle wheels and some pieces of angle iron for attaching the wheels, so it is a cheap solution too.

We harvested the ash poles we would need for the frame from the Trust land on the workday last month. The first job for this workday was to strip the bark from the poles, using a draw knife.

Using a drawknife to strip bark from an ash pole

Using a drawknife to strip bark from an ash pole

Then we began cutting the poles to length and fitting them together. We decided to make the basic frame 4ft x 4ft. One of our volunteers, who has recently completed the 6 month course at Coppice Wood College, showed a us simple method to split some of the thicker pieces of pole along their length to make pieces that were flat on one side for the cart bed.

Splitting an ash pole lengthways

Splitting an ash pole lengthways

Suitably fortified after a delicious bring and share lunch, work continued. The cart is not quite finished – we still need to nail down the cart bed and finish fixing the wheels – but it was a very enjoyable day, and very satisfying to see the cart developing. The plan is to have it finished before our next workday ,a Social Mow and Hand Hay Making day on 21st July. It will be interesting to see how Cart Mark One performs, and what modifications we will make on Mark Two (nothing is perfect first time!).

If you would like to join us on a future workday, you would be most welcome. Please contact us for more details.

Deciding how to fit the shafts

Deciding how to fit the shafts

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